Low-Cost, No-Cost Gifts: 5 Priceless Ways to Give Gratitude This Holiday Season

Giving Priceless Gifts

Author: Jasmine Brown

Helping at Shelter

“When creating a gift to give someone, it shows that you put thought and consideration into it, which often leaves people feeling seen and appreciated."

There are many ways we can express gratitude. This time of the year, one way is to give those you appreciate a gift.

We can also show gratitude during the holiday season without buying gifts. This is where the phrase, ‘it’s the little things that count’ hits home.

Michael Evitts, PhD, clinical health psychology fellow at McLaren Flint and Erin Simonetti, registered art therapist at Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Flint offer ideas to help you show gratitude toward someone, a group of people, a cause, and even yourself.

Give a handmade gift

Whether you are creative or not, a handmade gift can have a meaningful impact and sometimes communicate a message that cannot be purchased in a store or online.

“When creating a gift to give someone, it shows that you put thought and consideration into it, which often leaves people feeling seen and appreciated,” said Simonetti.

Give kindness

A gesture or an act of kindness that allows you to show gratitude toward someone can go a long way. Maybe a loved one helped you during the year and you want to return the favor by helping them. Some ideas to think about are to help a friend clean their home or cook dinner for a relative.

“A phone call, dropping off groceries, or coming by to visit or check in can be a form of giving gifts that has an emotional weight of support,” explained Dr. Evitts.

Write a letter or card

Anyone can buy a card from the store, sign their name, and mail it to a loved one. Now-a-days, not many people write their own cards.

“Handmade cards and handwritten letters have a meaningful impact. When creating a card, it shows the time and effort that is put into the gift,” said Simonetti. “Time shows intent and meaning. Rather than writing a general statement, make it personalized. Share something that you are grateful for and appreciate about that person.”

One interesting idea that Simonetti gives for writing letters is using seeded paper.

“Seeded paper has plant seeds within the paper. When you write a letter on the paper, the person that receives the letter can then plant the paper into dirt and watch your letter turn into a pot of flowers.”

Donate to a cause close to your heart or volunteer your time

There are so many causes to choose from. Think about how you can make a difference, whether it may be money, giving items that a particular organization needs to continue to serve the community, your time, or your energy.

“Thinking of social justice and helping someone out, often when an issue is so big, we can’t solve it ourselves, but we can offer by asking, ‘What do you need from me in this moment?’ Whether you are running an errand for an initiative, providing transportation, or volunteering at a food pantry, you’re committing your time,” Dr. Evitts said.

“If it’s an action that you’re willing to help with and it makes you feel good, go for it. You will be rewarded by the sense of focusing on others’ wellbeing.”

Give yourself the gift of gratitude

At the end of the year, many people reflect on the last 365 days. Dr. Evitts suggests that you use that reflection time to focus on your accomplishments and be grateful for yourself.  

“With gratitude, I always think of grace when it comes to the end of the year. I think it’s important to acknowledge that what someone else did throughout the year does not mean that you have to compare their accomplishments to yours,” explained Dr. Evitts. “You have just as much to be grateful for and to celebrate. Gratitude during the holidays can be a time of reflection and to give grace to oneself for whatever it is.”

With the continued pandemic, even in 2021, some people are choosing what being safe is to them. Dr. Evitts adds, no matter what your level of comfort has been in the last year or during the current holiday season, you still have a lot to be grateful for.

“You may decide to give to others this season and help out at a soup kitchen where you are around others donating your time,” said Dr. Evitts. “Even if you’re staying home because you want to social distance to not put your loved ones at risk, that’s also a form of giving and this action is just as worthy to be grateful for.”

McLaren Flint and Karmanos Cancer Institute offers many services and programs if you feel that you are feeling down this holiday season. Learn more about the outpatient behavioral health services at mclaren.org/flintemotionalsupport or by calling (810) 342-5333.

If you have been touched by cancer or have a loved one who has been touched by cancer, Karmanos offers the Cancer Education and Wellness Group, Music Therapy and Healing Through Art programs, now online. They also offer in-person Zumba classes, stretch classes, and bible study. Visit karmanos.org/flintcancersupport for more information on programs, or call the oncology nurse navigator at (810) 342-4848.